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Re: New Peerage? (fwd)

Poster: James and Nancy Gilly <KatieMorag@worldnet.att.net>

>To: sca-east@world.std.com
>From: nostrand@pi.math.wsu.edu (Barbara Nostrand)
>cc: James and Nancy Gilly <KatieMorag@worldnet.att.net>,
>    Karen Stegmeier <karen@addl.purdue.edu>, sca-equine@dnaco.net
>Subject: Re: New Peerage? (fwd)
>Date: Mon, 18 Nov 96 01:39:47 +0000
>Noble Cousins!
>James K. Wright has been circulating a proposal for a new peerage order.
>I believe that the specific proposal is flawed in several ways, and wish
>to respond to it in some detail.  Unfortunately, I do not have the address
>for the Atlantian mailing list, so I will post my comments here.
>>>The Order of the Courtier: A Proposal
>Before going into the specific details of the proposal, I wish to note that
>the name chosen for the order is most inappropriate.  Courtiers were a
>variety of kinds of people at court (who often did not hold specific office)
>which might have included members of a variety of orders.  This would not
>have been the name of an order.  Orders had names like:  Bath, Garter,
>Golden Fleece, Hospitalier, Templar, etc.  Orders typically took their names
>from either their token of membership, a feature of initiation, a classic
>reference or from the perceived mission.  "Courtier" does none of these.
>Secondly, I wish to note that a proliferation of peerage orders will diminish
>the stature of all of the orders, but most especially for the newest of the
>orders.  The Pelican was largely saved this by its genesis as a peerage awarded
>by the ancient electors for "society wide service".  This sort of boost will
>not be available to a new peerage which is created at the kingdom level.
>The poster then listed:  archery, fencing, equestrian activities, lure
>coursing, and possibly falconry as activities which would be recognized
>by this order.  They then note the effort and resulting mastery of these
>art forms.  (Incidentally, they failed to mention axe throwing, musketry
>and seige engines.)  They then make the point that people should be able
>to become peers through these activiites.
>I agree that anyone who makes contributions in recreating the middle ages
>and renaisance should be able to receive eleveation to the peerage regardless
>of what the specific actvity they exemplify is.  The question is how to best
>accomplish this.
>>>       But what order would suit these noble activities?  The Laurel?
>>>These activities do not really fit in as an art or a science, and their
>>>practice certainly does not fall under A+S Criteria.  They require
>>>authorization to participate and Marshal-type supervision to practice.
>This is not true at all.  Which of the extant orders they fit into depends
>upon what they are specificically doing.  We will assume for this analysis
>that the chivalry were open to non-rattan combat forms.  First of all,
>significant effort in organizing activities of any sort are already recognized
>by the Order of the Pelican.  This was noted by the original author.
>Consequently, I will restrict my analysis to the Chivlary v. the Laurel for
>eachof these activities.
>                                Chivalry                Laurel
>archery                         Marksmanship            Research into technique
>fencing                         Puissance               Research & teaching
>equestrian                      Jousting, etc.          Dressage & Training
>lure coursing                   <does not apply>        Dog Trainging &
>falconry                        <does not apply>        Bird Training
>axe throwing                    <questionable>          <questionable>
>musketry                        Marksmanship, etc.      Research, etc.
>seige engines.                  Deployment & Marksm.    Research & Construction
>Why not the Chivalry for lure coursing or falconry?  Because, here the dog
>and the bird are the ones which attain puissance, not the owner or trainer.
>We should not be giving people peerages simply for having fast dogs or birds.
>We can give people peerages for doing significant research into medieval and
>rennaisance activities involving dogs and birds and recreating and teaching
>these things.  That sounds like a Laurel to me.  The reason that I mark axe
>throwing as in general questionable is that I do not know of a real application
>of axe throwing (outside of fantasy role playing games) as a significant
>martial form.  Lacking such evidence, I can not see how it should ever be
>eligible for the chivalry.  Further, lacking evidence of real medieval
>technique, I do not see how it should be part of the order of the Laurel.  This
>does leave open the Pelican for those who teach others how to engage in this
>Basically, the same activities apply for equestrian activities as apply to
>dogs and birds, except that the human component is much more in evidence at
>the time of actual performance (I assume that we are not talking about circus
>horses tha do tricks to commands), and equestrain activities can exhibit an
>obvious martial aspect.
>>>       It seems to us that there is a gap between knighthood and the
>>>Laurelate.  between the practice of war and the arts and sciences, and
>>>in this gap is where we feel these noble and courtly activities fit.
>Notice that seige engines can also be viewed in this way, but what of it?
>The design and construction of seige engines is rather obviously something
>worthy of a Laurel.  A certain level of performance in operating (and
>especially commanding) a seige engine seems pretty military to me.
>>>       In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the nobles serving at court
>>>would practice at activities for recreation and to keep their minds and
>>>bodies sharp.  They would go hunting-ussually on horseback and using
>>>hounds or falcons.  They would course the hounds for enjoyment.
>>>They would shoot Bow and arrow, <etc.>
>They also danced, wrote poetry, etc.  Pastimes in and of themselves are
>things when they exhibit a degree of artisitic perfection and especially
>when they exhibit research and teaching are what we give Laurels for.
>The order of the Laruel is not simply an order for tradesmen and their arts.
>>>to us, to exist between the peerages.  It could be given to those
>>>gentles that have shown a mastery in any of these courtly activities:
>>>archery, fencing, equestrian, hound coursing, falconry.
>Here is precisely one of the reasons that I have problems with this specific
>proposal.  It seems to be a specific "catch-all" proposal which has delineated
>a shopping list of activities which it wishes to cover.  It has on the other
>hand, omitted musketry, axe-throwing, seige engines, etc.  Even more so, it
>has omitted a number of the classical "courtly" activities such as playing
>chess and other games.  (Again, research is an avenue to the Laurelate in
>these activities.  But, what of the expert chess player?  Should the expert
>chess player be a peer?)
>>>       This would give these courtly activities a chance to shine on their
>>>own, instead of being a "secondary" activity under another Peerage.
>I fear that simply by the grab-bag nature of these activities that they would
>not "shine on their own".  How does a 12th century bowman co-shine with late
>period recreational forms?  Both archery and rapier have developed their own
>ranking systems in which individuals shine.  Only a formal peerage is lacking.
>There is no need to create a hodgepodge order.  There is only a need to
>provide a peerage for these people.
>I wish to posit that the whole peerage system could be vastly improved by
>reserving the title "Marquis" to all non-royal peers.  Further, the crown
>would be authorized to eleveate someone to peerage estate through consultation
>with the extant peerage orders in the kingdom without admission into a specific
>order.  Consequently, if the crown wished to elevate someone to peerage estate
>who was undoubtedly a peer, but whose activities did not clearly belong to any
>particular order, then the crown could simply elevate them to the estate of
>Marquis upon consultation with the extant peerage orders.  (This is a fairly
>modest requirement as some kingdoms alreay are formally asking for a sponsor
>from all of the peerage orders for all elevations.)
>If later on there were a sufficient number of lure coursers in the kingdom,
>then they could form a guilde or possibly even an order.  Yes, this would mean
>that there would be peers without orders.  But, what of it?  Orders are for
>collegiality.  There is collegiality in the list field.  There is collegiality
>in research.  There is collegiality in service.  But, where is the collegiality
>in "none of the above"?
>Finally, a new "non of the above" order might more easily turn into a little
>clique of "none of the aboves" who will recognize your "none of the above" if
>they like you or your particular "none of the above", but may not do so
>otherwise.  Further, the initial creation of the order would simply be by
>royal fiat, which would significantly comprimise the status of the order in
>many kingdoms.  On the other hand, having it a joint poling non-order would
>open it up for consideration by a lot more people which would cause the net
>to be cast wider (no need to worry whether the list in the proposal is
>complete or not) and would at the same time bind the status of these gentles
>with the status to those in the other orders.
>                                                        Your Humble Servant
>                                                        Solveig Throndardottir
>                                                        Amateur Scholar
>| Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D.               | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM    |
>| Dept. of Pure & Applied Mathematics   | Amateur Scholar                |
>| Washington State University           | Medieval Japanese Research     |
>| Pullman, Washington  99164-3113       | Carolingia Status Mentis Est   |
>| (509) 335-5110                        |                                |
>| nostrand@pi.math.wsu.edu              | bnostran@lynx.neu.edu          |

James and Nancy Gilly

Dogs have Masters.  Cats have staff.

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